Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Sticky: Clara76's post on alignment


Recommended Posts

With Clara76's permission, I'm making her post on alignment ( you can read it in the original thread here: Alignment)a sticky, as I think it has information we all need, and this way it's quickly accessible.


Thanks, Clara! :wub:






Crude drawing but what I mean by allowing yourself to fall back into your knees, is what you probably think of as 'straight' knees. This is what your legs look like when you feel that your knees are straight.




Problem is, then your weight is placed back over your heels. Teacher comes along and says your weight is too far back. So you compensate by leaning forward. This places undue weight into your thighs (among a myriad of other problems) and will contribute to bulky thighs.


So, what you first need to do is stand sideways looking at your legs in the mirror. Straighten your legs into your hyperextended 'straight' position. See how it is not really straight, but actually beyond straight?? Feel where this places your body weight. Now see what happens when you do as teacher tells you and get your weight more forward. Look at your alignment...see how everything gets out of proper alignment because everything has to compensate for for the other thing???


Understand that you have a large bone in your thigh called the femur. The femur is the upper leg bone which helps form the hip joint by articulating (fitting together) with the pelvis. The hip joint is the largest ball and socket joint in the body. Your lower leg consists of the tibia which supports most of the body's weight, and the fibula which supports the ankle. They are all joined together by the patella, or knee bone. (Remember that old children's song? "The ankle bone's connected to the, leg bone...") Therefore, when one is out of alignment, all the others are too.


So, back to the mirror. Now try to align the femur and the tibia/fibula so that they are straight. You will feel as if your knees are bent, but look at them; they are not bent, they are just not locked backwards.


Now you can have your weight more evenly distributed over your feet, so that your teacher will not need to correct you, because you will have less weight in your heels.


Understand though, that you will need to build new strength in the muscles surrounding the knees, because you have mis-trained them for so long.


Here is an overall posture description that may be helpful:

Picture a skeleton hanging from a post, like in a lab.


See the pelvis. Visualize those 2 bony structures at the very bottom of the pelvis. Those are what you feel when you sit down. They are called the 'sit bones'.

If the skeleton is hanging properly, those 2 bones will be pointing straight down at the ground. If one were to attach a light to them, there would be 2 perfect circles of light on the floor.


Now move up to the ribcage. Notice that the ribcage comes from the spine and therefore, we need to think about the ribcage as being both in front and back. The ribcage would be centered over the pelvis, parallel to the floor, neither higher in back nor front, neither sticking out forward nor backwards.


The head would then float at the top of the spine.


Picture tucking the sit bones forward on your mental skeleton, or arching them backwards. Can you see how it would affect the rest of the bones? The lower back must adjust, but also every other bone in the entire body must adjust as well.


When the pelvis is tucked, it pulls the ribcage down, and forces too much weight to be placed in the upper thighs. It continues to cause problems on up the body into the shoulders and neck by causing neck tension, shoulder-rounding, and chin-thrusting.


When the pelvis is tilted backwards, it compresses the lower back and forces the ribcage forward, which will also cause chin-thrusting or tucking.


This is why the outer affects such as enlarged thigh muscles, lower back pain, and lack of leg-rotation can be present.


The job of our muscles is to support the bones. The dancer can only achieve full rotation of the legs when the ribcage is lifted up equally in back and front and supported by the ab muscles, and the pelvis is neutral. Having the ribcage supported and lifted up off of the pelvis allows the legs to work at their maximum efficiency and allows the body to move quickly or slowly in control. It also allows one to feel the rotators and engage them.

Link to comment
  • 8 months later...

Thanks, brisé! That one took me awhile!! :D

Link to comment
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...